My project is a one-minute film which encompasses a short synopsis of what my day is like in online school. To show my “covid truth”, I attempted to communicate the ways in which online school is extremely repetitive and how it drags the day along.
A frustrated student struggles to remain engaged as every day seems to repeat and blend together with the next.
Intent / Goals
FOR MYSELF: One technical goal I set for myself was to use an invisible cut and a smash cut at some point in the film. Overall, I wanted to make my edits clean, clear, and intentional. Creatively speaking, I set a goal to try something new by using the overlapping voices of my own teachers talking to create a sense of chaos, overwhelm, and repetition.
FOR THE PROJECT: I wanted the audience to feel uncomfortable while watching this, but I also wanted them to be able to relate to what I was portraying. Having an audience which primarily consists of other students, I felt it would make sense to create something that people could see as their own experience being portrayed by someone else.
To prepare myself for the role of editor, one of the people I researched was Walter Murch and his “Rule of Six”. Murch is an award winning film editor and is definitely more than qualified to be giving editing advice. From my research on his “Rule of Six”, I learned about which aspects of your film you should pay the most attention to while editing. Murch says that it is crucial to cut for emotion, advance the story with your cuts, cut with rhythm, lead with eye trace, recreate reality on screen, and make sure the physical space in a scene makes sense with spacial relationships in real life.
Another resource that I used to prepare myself was a YouTube video titled “13 Creative Film and Video Editing Techniques“, which was shared with me during a class presentation. The video comes from a verified account that posts tons of videos related to films and the film making process. From watching this short video, I learned a lot about different types of editing techniques including when to use them, how to use them, and why to use them. I found this resource extremely helpful, as it was easy to understand and provided visual examples for each type of edit to clearly show viewers what each particular edit may look like.
I would also like to include a major shout out to Brian Favorite, who provided me and my classmates with a presentation on Walter Murch and the 13 edits video I have mentioned above. His presentation was extremely helpful in learning about basic film editing and completing this project.
How did the overlapping voices make you feel?
Was my idea of the day repeating communicated well?
“The edits here, I think, worked really well because it’s showing that passing of time … and everything feels like it’s moving slowly. [But] it didn’t feel like there was a lot of tension … I would have added some kind of goal to it in the beginning that needs to be done by the end of the video to show some conflict” – Abby Dyck
“After every cut [in this film], we can say ‘and then’ … [but] what we want to do is be able to say ‘but’ or ‘however’ or ‘therefore’ … to ramp up the tension” – Mr. Le Duc
“I felt like she was swimming through oil. All the way through was slow and painful … and the cuts didn’t distract from that. I thought her attempt was really successful in the end because of those edits. [The voices] sort of conflicted with that swimming through oil thing because it felt like the audio had energy and the visuals were just languid … [but overall] I thought this was an attempt communicated very well” – Brian Favorite
“The fact that I felt the emotions that you were trying to convey I think shows a lot in your film making. I agree with Brian [in that] I thought the voices were kind of conflicting … but other than that, creating a film that shows the emotion you’re trying to convey is a great aspect of film making and I think you hit it right on the nail” – Emily Berbells
“The layered audio was a hook … I thought that was really creative. [Maybe have] it keep ramping up to a breaking point … or [have] clear juxtaposition between the languid visuals and overwhelming audio” – Mr. Le Duc
Eye Trace – This clip is clearly mindful of where the audience’s eyes are when cutting from scene to scene, as I didn’t need to dart my eyes from one corner of the screen to another in order to see the focus of the shot.
Three Dimensional Space – Throughout the entirety of this clip, the actors always made sense in their space. For the most part, any character’s movement from one spot to another was clearly communicated, so as not to disorient the audience.
Emotion – In the end of this clip, there’s a very strong sense of awkwardness, as the villain attempts to make a sly jab at the main character, but completely fails in his delivery. Rather than moving on to the fight after making a comment, the villain then tries to explain his jab, making for a rather embarrassing scenario. This awkward mood is clearly expressed to viewers as the camera lingers on the villain for an uncomfortable amount of time and multiple cuts are made to other characters to show how lost they are.
Different Cuts/Editing Techniques
J Cut – In this clip, multiple J cuts were used in order to create intrigue for the next scene. One specific part of the clip included a J cut in which the focus of the screen is on the main character’s conversation, until it’s interrupted by someone else speaking. At first, we don’t see who the voice is coming from, but eventually, the camera makes a smooth movement to reveal the person speaking in the background of the shot.
Invisible Cut – There were two invisible cuts used in this clip that I noticed, in both of which the back of a character’s head was used to transition into/out of a montage. The transition into the montage used a wiping effect to move from the current moment into the past moment being described. When we moved from the past moment to the present, we once again transitioned through a wiping effect which took place behind the character’s head.
Montage – This clip included a montage showing a past timeline, which was transitioned into using an invisible cut (as mentioned above). The montage also switched mediums from the previous scene to tell the story in the form of an animated comic.
Cutting on Action – Since this clip included part of a fight scene, it’s no surprise that the technique of cutting on action was included. The cut successfully showed the sudden switch from conversation to our main character being launched into the sky by one of our villains.
What did you like about the film clip?
I really enjoyed this film clip, along with the rest of the movie, because it’s relatively outside of the box compared to other more traditional films. There’s a huge level of detail that goes into the film, with the visual effects being so unique and the actors being told not to blink, which adds to the comic book feel of the story (I learned this from the article linked here). In this particular clip, I really appreciated the effort that was put into making everything feel awkward and realistic, especially given the completely abstract story line. The subject matter in the conversations between characters was unrealistic to a conversation you’d have in real life, but the flow of the conversation was relatable, as it was awkward and casual.
What did you learn from this week’s exercise?
From this week’s exercise and lesson, I learned about Walter Murch’s six rules and their application in film, along with a few different cuts and editing techniques. Some of the cuts I learned about included jump cuts, smash cuts, cutaways, and invisible cuts. I’ve really been enjoying learning about these different kinds of cuts that are commonly used in films, as it allows me to have a different experience while watching movies. With this new information, I’m able to notice details in movies that I never would’ve seen before, which is super exciting.
What questions do you have from what you saw?
What is the difference between Walter Murch’s rule #5 and rule #6?
Is there a name for when you hear a voice in a film but never see where/who that voice is coming from?
“13 Creative Film and Video Editing Techniques.” YouTube, uploaded by Pond5, 14 Aug. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu3vhFlXV0w. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.
Maio, Alyssa. “The Rule of Six: How to Edit Effectively with Walter Murch’s Eye Trace.” Studio Binder, 1 Aug. 2019, www.studiobinder.com/blog/walter-murch-rule-of-six/. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.
Gray, Tallulah. “10 Things You Should Know about Scott Pilgrim.” The CulturedNerd, 11 July 2020, theculturednerd.org/2020/06/10-things-you-should-know-about-scott-pilgrim/. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.